5 Skills you need to clear any Group Discussion
The group discussion (GD) is a key step in the screening process at top B-schools and quite often for jobs as well. However, with so much emphasis on CAT and other entrance scores, MBA aspirants often pay little attention to fine tune their group discussion skills.
Here are some crucial skills that can help you surge miles ahead in enhancing your group discussion skills.
The selection panel monitoring any group discussion pays strong attention to your overall communication skills - verbal and nonverbal. The verbal skills comprise of your flair for language, clarity with which you bring forth your points/opinions, and the tone of your voice. Non-verbal skills mainly include your body language, which in turn comprises hand gestures, posture, and eye contact.
You can improve this GD skill by practicing speaking in front of a mirror - you'd know how you look and gesture while talking. Improve upon your mannerisms accordingly. Try and be relaxed, pleasant, courteous and co-operative (not cold and aloof).
Your listening skills are as important as your speaking skills, so pay attention to what your opponents say. This is not just important to get a tick in the check box for listening skills, but also to help take forth your discussion, by adding to or debating what the other members have said.
Here's a tip: Acknowledge the speaker by nodding your head, thus showing that you are paying attention.
Reasoning, Accuracy and Innovation
What you say, in the short span of time available, has to be relevant to the topic. You must also get your facts right always. Quick thinking and creativity will take you steps ahead of the others. Not only must you get a hold of the topic, you must have the ability to nudge it forward in the most concise manner, keeping in mind the time duration. Additionally, if the topic allows, try and be innovative with any solutions or opinions; this will put you under the spotlight and earn you crucial extra points. Come up with original points, without repeating what others have said. You can develop these skills by reading widely about varied topics so that you are armed with enough knowledge to speak at length about them.
Also read: List of popular GD topics from the past
Assertiveness and Flexibility
When making a point, it is very important that you convey it with sheer conviction. Most times, the way you communicate is more important than what you actually say. At the same time, don't be too rigid when others speak. Don't stick to your guns so strongly that you end up arguing for the sake of argument. Don't dismiss your opponents' opinions if they are valid. Be assertive, not aggressive. This will show that you are decisive, yet open-minded.
Also read: How to face a GD
Be the person who charts the flow of the discussion. You don't have to jump at every opportunity to speak; encourage other members to express themselves. This shows your initiative in the discussion and leadership skills in the bigger scheme of things. It is important to strike the right balance, without being too dominating.